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Is savagery now a marketing tool?

Savagery, a verb coming from the term ‘savage’ refers to something fierce, violent or uncontrolled if we look at the literal dictionary. But that is not we are referring to in this case; savage and the act of savagery have a different meaning in the world of social media. And when it comes to ‘brand savagery’, which is what we are talking about in this blog, it refers to witty and straight replies from the brand to responses or questions from the customers. Brand savagery has been common with the offbeat and outspoken brands for a long time, but is now growing at a high rate and possibly is becoming a marketing tool for most brands. It is also being used by brands to show a very responsive approach.

Let’s look at an example of brand savagery to have a clearer view of what the act actually is and what is refers to.

The above image is an example of 'brand savagery' by Royal Mail.

It is very important for the brand to fall into the grey area with their reply, which is the space between being downright insulting and funny. Although savagery does include a little bit of insult of the customer and basically an act of show off by the brand, but they have to be careful and not take it too far, it could lead to the customer getting offended and taking legal action against the brand.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the grey area is a very tiny space. According to the 2016 Sprout Social Index shown in the image above, 32.3% of people are annoyed when a brand tries to be funny - when they’re clearly not. This states how integral it is for the brands to fit in perfectly in the grey area and not under or over do it!

In another dimension, Brand savagery also impacts the brand identity of a brand. Some brands are using this to define their brand identity in front of their customers. Brands are trying to come out as a “cool brand” as we know it. For some it might be a little difficult to indulge in such practices as their brand identity might not allow of this and they might end up challenging their own beliefs by doing so.

The number of brands using this technique as a new marketing tool to get in touch with their customers and build a stronger customer base is rapidly increasing. This is helping the brand to add to their quality of being approachable. A brand that replies to a customer on social media is a good brand, but a brand that replies to the customer and can also play around with its reply is a better than a good brand.

But, like every marketing tool or approach in the social media world even this has its own pros and cons; let’s look at some:


  • Wider brand visibility

  • Brand personification

  • Engages your audience


  • Defies your brand ethics

  • Cross boundaries

  • Affect brand identity

Well, to sum it up brand savagery is definitely attracting the marketing individuals and getting the peak of their attention. It would not be wrong to say that it could be used a marketing tool on a large basis in the near future. Although, the social media wants something new every day and gets bored of repetitive content. Hence, brand savagery is still possibly not the right thing to do for all the brands, given the high level of risk that it carries with it!

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